The architectural design of your house is as defining as the style of clothing you prefer or the car you drive. Your home is after all an extension of your personality or preference.

Certain property designs are timeless and other is influenced by the market. Fads in design are somewhat driven by the media. It is important to note that these design styles do not impact much on property’s market price. The norm is that every house has its owner.

Certain suburbs have inherited a specific design style, and once you change this design the property will look out of place. Take Cape Town as an example: A Cape Dutch design works well there. In a semi-bush environment a thatch roof would not look out of place, whereas a high-rise apartment building would look out of place in a traditional suburb.

In Brixton, Johannesburg, most of the properties have zinc roofs. This was the norm during the 60’s. That means the style or design is time- or period specific. The properties had bay windows and walled entrance patios.

Here are some design style descriptions to assist you in putting a name to the design of your home:

Cape Dutch

This is a timeless design. Pressed ceiling define the interior along with wood floors. The roof could either be corrugated iron or grass thatch. The exterior walls are plastered and generally white. Entrances are generally highlighted by wooden cladding. Rooms are light and airy. A Cape Dutch design does not lend itself to a good flow but is more fictional in design.   


This is another design with specific design details and criteria including high pressed ceilings, wood panelling (broekie lace) balustrade, spacious verandas and sash windows.


Imagine Greece with the white washed walls and the symmetrical design. This is generally a design which is focused on family. It is thus more open plan and rooms flow. Windows are either square or rectangular and offer views to outside. A central courtyard is surrounded by the living areas and the courtyard is generally uncovered for maximum use of sunlight and natural lighting. The roofing is cast cement as a design element. Coloured up lighting from subterranean gardens make for spectacular views at night. Design can be either classic or modern, depending on the types of window frames and size.


When speaking about Tuscan, “villa” springs to mind along with all shades of brown, mocha, chocolate and camel. This design is classic modern with open plan living on multi-levels. Roofs are tiled and there is no guttering. Most rooms on the upper floors have enclosed balconies. This is a very popular design and very much in fashion at the moment. The design is angular.

Urban or Designer

These are very much architectural in design, not limited to any specific design style. These properties are designed for a specific taste or requirement. It can be identified by space, light or just the design itself.

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